The 220kV Suswa Mega Substation
The 220kV substation, located in Suswa is a Vision 2030 project that will be the meeting point of crucial transmission lines in Kenya. Among them include 3 lines from Ol Karia Geothermal Stations and Ethiopia HVDC Line.
Located within a large plateau, 80km North West of Nairobi along the MaiMahiu - Narok highway, Kenya’s largest substation is being built that will rival anything that had been built before it. The 220kV Substation will be the country’s main power interchange which wil handle power from the Geothermal Stations ar Olkaria, Wind Power from Lk. Turkana and HVDC (High Voltage Direct Current) from Ethiopia.
The Suswa Substation will be run by Kenya Electricity Power Company(KETRACO). The Ksh 1.76 billion Substation was funded by IDA, AfDB and FDA where the contract was awarded to Siemens Transmission and Distribution SAS. KETRACO plans to expand Suswa where a separate DC Concerting station will be built beside the Substation to handle DC from Ethiopia.
The Suswa Substation will handle power from Olkaria 1， Olkaria 1 (Additional Unit) and Olkaria 4 power stations each producing 300MW, 140MW and 140MW respectively. They all have combined output of about 500MW+ which will be fed into the Suswa Substation. This power will be brought in by 3 rows of towers which can be seen just outside the substation all being double circuit lines.
Currently the power fom the above Geothermal Stations is transmitted by one line called the Nairobi North Line which runs for 64 kms to the 220kV Nairobi North Substation. Power from Ethiopia (HVDC) and Lk Turkana Wind Power Station shall also be fed into the Suswa Substation
The major lines from Suswa Substation will be the 400kV line to the 400kV Isinya Substation. This line will run for 200km when completed. There is also a proposed 220kV 50km transmission line to the Proposed 220kV Ngong Substation. KETRACO hopes to complete the Nairobi Ring which will ensure that there is power around Nairobi and theretofore reducing blackouts which have been experienced in the past.
Even though the Suswa Substation is yet to be energised, standard tests are being conducted using 33kV voltage from Kenya Power to ensure that all the lines are ready once the switch on date is approved. KETRACO has plans to double the size of the substation once key project are competed and power is ready to be connected.
The Suswa Stations’s technology is very advanced and security has been increased to ensure restricted access for unauthorised persons. Fault diagnosis equipment have been installed to detect and isolate faulty lines to ensure that there is power flowing at all times.